Goal Setting & Being Honest

So remember how I set some generalized goals for 2013 back here? Well, something has been nagging at me since I wrote that post and it’s caused me to pause for a moment and ask myself some hard questions. And all of those hard questions really end up boiling down to just one big fat one: Is this a cop out?

Here’s the thing. A lot of what I said is absolutely true. You can’t fully measure the quality of your relationships via a checklist of tasks. “Happy” can be a hard word to fully define. Emotional connection to my clients and their lives isn’t quantifiable in my accounting ledger.


The truth is that most of what I want to accomplish CAN be measured in some way. Maybe not by number of phone calls or accounting ledgers, but there is usually some way to gauge whether I’m reaching my goals or falling short. So why have I been so reluctant to create those parameters? Why do I shy away from setting up a structure that would allow me to measure where I am in my progress? Am I afraid of something? Am I rebelling in some way? IS there some sort of benefit to keeping things general?

In the end, I don’t know why. Maybe I’m afraid of something. Maybe I’m rebelling (I have a tendency to do that sometimes!). But the bottom line is the same…it doesn’t really matter why. Understanding why doesn’t set up the structure. Understanding why doesn’t actually help me move forward. “Why” might matter if I were seeking to get to the bottom of a major trauma or depression, but I have a sneaking suspicion that my personal “why” in this case might just be plain old laziness.

Because it takes a bit of work and a whole heaping spoonful of honesty to figure out (a) what it is I want, and (b) how the heck to get there.

So I went in search of some motivating structure. I began by reading this post by Liz & Ryan. Which led me to this post by Chris Guillebeau (whose blog, The Art of Nonconformity, I’m officially obsessed with). And there were a few things missing, which led me to Susannah Conway‘s take on setting your goals for the coming year…she had a bit more of the touchy-feely stuff that I was looking for.

And then it was simply time for me to sit down, pen and paper in hand and do. the. work.

As worthwhile work usually is, it was hard. Much harder than I’d anticipated. I’m a goal-setting kind of girl, so how difficult I found this actually quite shocked me. It took me days. Several of them. I had to walk away and come back. I got frustrated. And exasperated. And pretty hard on myself sometimes. I had to get pretty down-and-dirty honest about what I really want. Which was ridiculously hard to nail down. Ridiculously hard.

What was equally difficult was getting down-and-dirty honest about what I was willing to sacrifice to get there. Ouch. Because the sage wisdom that my mom has shared with me time and again turns out to be true over and over:

“You CAN have it all. You just can’t have it all, all at the same time.”

She’s a smart cookie, that mom of mine.

So I revised my goals. And I set the bar for myself a little higher in some areas. And I got more concrete. And I remembered that these are MY goals. For MY life. My ONLY life. And I could change them if they no longer felt right or relevant.

And I’ll share them with you guys, in case you’re interested. But I’ll share them with you tomorrow, because this post has gone on long enough for now! And I’d really love to hear if any of you have had this kind of revelation? Have you wondered if you’ve set your goals to low? Or too vaguely?

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